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Saab owner plans world's biggest electric car fleet

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The China-focussed consortium that bought bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab has unveiled its first major deal – a mammoth $US12 billion ($A17 billion) order for electric cars for a Chinese leasing company.

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The single order for 250,000 electric vehicles, including 150,000 cars based on the Saab 9-3 sedan, appeared to be all but unprecedented.

There were just 665,000 electric cars in the world and 83,000 in China as of the end of 2014, according to the International Energy Agency.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) said it would swiftly hire hundreds of workers in Sweden to start building cars for Panda New Energy, a Chinese firm it said leases zero-emission vehicles to chauffeur-driven fleets.

Those based on the Saab 9-3 compact sedan will have a new chassis for electric drive, with bodies built and painted in Sweden and sent to China for final assembly.

No details were given about the other 100,000, but a company spokesman said they would primarily be built in China.

NEVS bought the assets of the bankrupt 70-year-old Swedish carmaker in 2012 with the aim of transforming it into a leading global producer of electric cars.

“This is a strategic collaboration for NEVS not only in terms of the numbers of vehicles, but it is also an important step to implement our vision and new business plan,” vice chairman Stefan Tilk said in a statement.

“Co-operating with many chauffeured car service platforms in China, Panda aims to become one of the biggest electric vehicle leasing companies in the world,” NEVS said of its customer.

AAP

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